Coordinates: 53°42′18″N 1°14′56″W / 53.705°N 1.249°W / 53.705; -1.249
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Knottingley is located in West Yorkshire
Location within West Yorkshire
Population13,710 (Ward. 2011)
OS grid referenceSE495235
Metropolitan borough
Metropolitan county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Postcode districtWF11
Dialling code01977
PoliceWest Yorkshire
FireWest Yorkshire
UK Parliament
List of places
53°42′18″N 1°14′56″W / 53.705°N 1.249°W / 53.705; -1.249

Knottingley is a town in the City of Wakefield in West Yorkshire, England on the River Aire and the old A1 road before it was bypassed as the A1(M). Historically part of the West Riding of Yorkshire, it has a population of 13,503,[1] increasing to 13,710 for the City of Wakefield ward at the 2011 Census.[2] It makes up the majority of the Knottingley ward represented on Wakefield Council.

Until 1699, it was an important inland river port but, in that year, the Aire was made navigable as far as Leeds, which soon surpassed it. Knottingley continued as a centre for boat building into the 20th century. In the late 19th century, it started glass manufacturing. The town is served by Knottingley railway station.

After 1870, the town became known for glass manufacturing.[3] In 1887, Bagley's Glassworks purchased the rights to the first bottle-making machine, invented by a Ferrybridge postmaster.[4] There is a Bagley's Glass gallery in Pontefract Museum.

Close to Knottingley is Ferrybridge Power Station, which had the largest cooling towers of their kind in Europe. Three of these towers collapsed in high winds in 1965. The remaining towers, which could be seen for miles around, were demolished between 2019 and 2022.

The town was the last in the United Kingdom to have a working deep coal mine, Kellingley Colliery, until it closed in December 2015.[5]


St Botolph's Church

Knottingley means "the clearing of Cnotta's people", from the Old English personal name Cnotta meaning "knot", describing a small, round man and -ingas "people of" + leāh "wood, modern lee, not the same meaning as Leah (personal name)". The name was recorded as Cnotinesleahemm in 1128.[6]

During the three Sieges of Pontefract Castle, Oliver Cromwell took residence in the town of Knottingley, believed to be in Wildbore House. The house was later demolished when its land was mined as a quarry for the limestone underneath.[7]

Knottingley, inextricably linked with Ferrybridge, is a West Yorkshire town whose history is tied to river travel and industry. It has managed to retain certain elements of that industrial history as thriving enterprises today, providing employment for many of its combined population of some 17,000. It was originally an Anglo-Saxon settlement, though the ancient monument of Ferrybridge Henge shows it had significant indigenous habitation long before then.[8]

Aire & Calder Navigation

The crossing over the Aire at Ferrybridge was of importance for many centuries. A bridge was built there in 1198, and another to replace it two centuries later. Located on the Great North Road linking London with York and Edinburgh beyond that, the town became an important staging place for the coach traffic on that route.[9]

Knottingley was an inland port of some note, long the last navigable point on the Aire until the Aire and Calder Navigation, built in 1704[10] and widened in 1826, enabled barges to make it to Leeds.[11] Its shipyards built and maintained both inland and seagoing vessels.[12] Pottery was a significant industry for the town from the 19th century until as late as the 1940s, when the Australian Pottery, opened to cater to that country's needs, finally closed.[13]

Glass manufacturing continues to be important. The town had Kellingley Colliery operating until December 2015. The demand for coal was helped by the huge power station at Ferrybridge.[14] Whilst most of the coal bound for Ferrybridge left by rail, some was transported up river using barges, the last of which was delivered in December 2002.[15] The last miners, their families and many former miners marched from Knottingley Town Hall to the Social Club in December 2015.[16]


A short lived greyhound racing track existed from 1940 to 1946 and again during 1947. The racing was independent (not affiliated to the sports governing body the National Greyhound Racing Club) and was known as a flapping track, which was the nickname given to independent tracks. The venue could accommodate up to 3,000 people.[17][18]

The town is home to a rugby union club, who meet on Marsh Lane.[19]


Local news and television programmes are provided by BBC Yorkshire and ITV Yorkshire. Television signals are received from the Emley Moor TV transmitter.[20] Local radio stations are BBC Radio Leeds on 92.4 FM, Greatest Hits Radio Yorkshire (formerly Radio Aire and Ridings FM) on 96.3 and 106.8 FM, Hits Radio West Yorkshire on 102.5 FM, Heart Yorkshire on 106.2 FM, Capital Yorkshire on 105.1 and 105.8 FM and 5 Towns FM, a community radio station that broadcasts from Castleford.[21] The town is served by the local newspapers, Wakefield Express and the Pontefract and Castleford Express.


Knottingley has one high school, De Lacy Academy formerly called Knottingley High School and Sports College.

It has several primary schools: England Lane Academy, Willow Green Academy, Knottingley St Botolph's C of E Academy, The Vale Primary Academy and Simpson's Lane Academy. Sixth-form colleges are located in nearby Pontefract, Wakefield and Selby.

Notable people[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Census 2001 : Urban Areas : Table KS01 : Usual Resident Population". Office for National Statistics. Archived from the original on 23 July 2004. Retrieved 26 August 2009.
  2. ^ "City of Wakefield Ward population 2011". Neighbourhood Statistics. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 2 March 2016.
  3. ^ Glass manufacturing
  4. ^ "Bottle making", Knottingley Website
  5. ^ "UK's last deep coal mine Kellingley Colliery capped off". BBC News Online. 14 March 2016. Retrieved 6 December 2016. Kellingley Colliery in North Yorkshire closed in December, bringing to an end centuries of deep coal mining in Britain.
  6. ^ Ekwall, Eilert (1960). The concise Oxford dictionary of English place-names (4. ed.). Oxford: Clarendon Press. p. 282. ISBN 0-19-869103-3.
  7. ^ "Early History Official guide to Knottingley". Archived from the original on 15 November 2016. Retrieved 17 March 2017.
  8. ^ Roberts, Ian. "Ferrybridge ritual landscape" (PDF). West Yorkshire Archaeological Services. Archived from the original (PDF) on 25 September 2006. Retrieved 4 July 2008.
  9. ^ Bradley, Tom (1889). "The Old Coaching Days in Yorkshire". The Yorkshire Post. p. 182.
  10. ^ Hadfield, Charles (1972). The canals of Yorkshire and North East England (1 ed.). Newton Abbot: Vt. pp. 17–20. ISBN 9780715357194.
  11. ^ "15.0 Archaeology and cultural heritage" (PDF). pp. 363–364. Retrieved 17 March 2017.
  12. ^ "Knottingley & Ferrybridge delivery plan 2012-2015" (PDF). p. 21. Retrieved 17 March 2017.
  13. ^ "The History and Origins of Knottingley and Ferrybridge". Retrieved 17 March 2017.
  14. ^ Bounds, Tom (11 December 2015). "Date set for closure of UK's last deep mine at Kellingley". FT. Archived from the original on 10 December 2022. Retrieved 17 March 2017.
  15. ^ Ledger, John (31 March 2016). "Closure of Ferrybridge fuels sense of missed opportunities". Pontefract and Castleford Express. Retrieved 17 March 2017.
  16. ^ "Thousands march through Yorkshire to mark end of deep coal mining at Kellingley". BBC News. BBC. 20 December 2015. Retrieved 28 August 2021.
  17. ^ Barnes, Julia (1988). Daily Mirror Greyhound Fact File, page 417. Ringpress Books. ISBN 0-948955-15-5.
  18. ^ "Knottingley". Greyhound Racing Times. Retrieved 9 May 2019.
  19. ^ "Knottingley RUFC". Retrieved 4 August 2020.
  20. ^ "Emley Moor (Kirklees, England) Full Freeview transmitter". UK Free TV. 1 May 2004. Retrieved 6 January 2024.
  21. ^ "5 Towns FM Radio Online". Retrieved 6 January 2024.
  22. ^ "Simon Middleton". Rugby Journal. 26 March 2022. Retrieved 29 April 2023.